thumbnail of Africans in America; 102; Revolution; 
     Interview with Margaret Washington, Associate Professor of History, Cornell
    University. 2 of 4
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ms ursula bigger and the original nineteen seventy eight by seventeen fifty slavery is integrity to the south south carolina has majority of african americans virginia has a huge amount of african americans the south is a slave region and the entire economy is dependent on slave labor during the cold war and then with enslavement in colonial america represents for whites a status symbol to have slaves is part of your wealth and to be involved and enslavement means that you are very important to the economy they may even stop
city and so you how slavery shaped southern identity is whether you're a slave owner demands by seventeen fifty slavery is untangle part of the colonial economy in the north and especially in the south slaves are the most important form of wealth the next important form of wealth is land in the two go together because the slaves worked the land the more land you have more slaves you have the more profit you can accrue so slavery is part of that system and to be a slave owner is to be a member of the elite to be a non slave holder is to bait essentially a small farmer or poor white
so slavery determines your status in colonial american who is in the innovation of students didn't want to remain in the town central to the operation because to work in the south was to be black africans controlled the labor and that included women as well this man when memes form of autonomy in south carolina african american women was through the market system because they did the buying for the family because they sold in the market they had essentially
sort of a community that had some economic aspects to it it gave them a sense of being able to have some control over themselves and as far as the white community was concerned that meant that this was something that they didn't have to deal with this kind of domestic aspects of life so it represented the whole market scene which where food was bought and sold represented for africans a form of autonomy and for whites it was an area that they didn't want anything to do with a later on weiss began to realize that this market situation controlled by women becomes a means of communication are not working for african americans sometimes for resistance purposes so gradually they began to tighten the screws on the privileges but they have
allowed the african women to have in the marketplace it is the centerpiece of the play and step back crisis emerges and the charleston names are involved in protest and beginning his pamphlet war and this rhetoric about liberty and them being treated as slaves by great britain quite naturally the real slaves are going to pick up on this and as a reaction to that african americans began to protest themselves and begin to assess as they have always done a situation that might be an opportunity for
liberty so they pick up on this rhetoric above no representation and being taxed of one liberty and having their liberty taken away and of course if anyone has their liberty taken away gets them so that african americans are very much aware of what's going on and begin to protest as well as other kinds of resistance they look for avenues of resistance and when this crisis begins and seventeen sixty five african americans are not only protesting but they're also involved in other kinds of resistance looking for openings in the system the er things that happened after that from seven six seven his sixty five until the actual lexington and concord confrontation represent sort of a march for african americans toward further assertion of their own sense
of liberty and it's oftentimes preceded by what they see the whites still that indeed if whites can protest for their liberty the mate as people who are the true in slade have a right to protest for the years houses a year chances to the holiday season actually a black majority a white minority in a situation like charleston where there are so many african americans compared to the white population so many african americans who are central to the economy it's very dangerous situation and the colonists realized that and they're constantly writing each other talking about it in slate people are sometimes executed for what they consider to be tests of their position as bond's people there situation of a couple who hear about the mansfield somerset this isn't
an written and seventy seventy two and they immediately fleet because it and tried to britain because they have heard that africans and britain are free so the calmness react to this bias they historically have reacted and that is the grid pressed the africans and as they've oppressed the africans and africans look for other opportunities so carolina itself and toss in particular because it's an urban center with a huge black population who do all of the labor is in a way kind of in a state of internal siege because of that question mark warner means it's only spanish how do
americans don't sit idly by while the whites are murdering and doing all kinds of things to curtail the freedom sometimes they simply pay no attention to these laws and continue to ignore curfews they rob they become highwaymen some of them run away run to the indians they know that the nation the colonies are in turmoil and that the situation and slave my aunt is somewhat insecure are worried not the whites would not feel so incumbent to create these situations of repression so their reaction the african american reaction is to resist and they resist by fleeing they resist by ignoring curfews they become very belligerent sometimes to whites in the streets so they know that something is afoot and that there may
be an opportunity for them and of course the british even before the moore's proclamation even in the early seventeenth seventies are writing to each other in writing to england same that if a columnist continue then we know that we can certainly get their slaves to rise up against them so african americans are sold and triple to the economy that they know everything they see everything and they hear everything and they react to that fb fb
stomachs crawling around one hundred what is the state of slave owners plays is always there's a piece it is about liberty are everywhere there in the streets they're certainly in the home the conversations are not private masters and mistresses talk about freedom as they've been served by their slaves women are coming in with dishes listening to this conversation they know that there's a lot of controversy over various issues that come up among the columnists so this itself creates a tension within a domestic context so that you
have been since they were men who are working in the home and become impotent when they confront them is just as it was something minor probably before the agitation for revolution had occurred when there was a conflict the women would back down but with this talk of liberty in the air that was being espoused by blacks as well as whites it created a certain so when there's a certain assertiveness of played itself out in the home and i played itself out with women talking back to their mistresses played itself out that poisonings with flight with indignities that ted they previously would have ignored mushroom me so people are looking for ways to assert themselves and when they were doing this in the home
the scream at the precipice to imagine you know and the current law or easier for everything in there's this whole idea of a trust boston his song union sailors kind of getting a sense of and how they were false and try to maintain a sense of betrayal now when the us set themselves as human beings or whatever or it's even a slave what is the speed and in the american culture and help them to the interesting thing about the jeremiah situation was that he was considered a trusted black
and whites could understand why he had betrayed them and that speaks to the why at capacity for self deception to feel that africans who they had enslaved over generations would be loyal to them before they would be loyal to their own freedom and yet whites did believe that and unfortunately there were some blacks who even in this particular age made that belief a reality but not the majority nevertheless whites believe that blacks would remain loyal and they especially believed this about the ones who may consider privileged who once lived in the house the ones who they gave certain privileges to me he was killed one from a heart out and that allowed to keep a certain amount of their earnings so the attitude of whites was that since they
had given them these miniscule privileges than that had found them but this was like super concerned these peels is only meant that there were more problems out there that they were entitled to we need people oftentimes need to feel justified in the treatment of others and with slave holders i think they wanted to feel that the system was ok the system was working and this would make them feel less fearful if they can trust their slaves than there was nothing to fear and slavery itself was ok so i think it speaks to this need to feel that all pressure and is something that african americans had learned to live with and indeed that as far as african
americans were concerned this was not oppression this was simply the natural state of things so for whites the idea was that it was ok and they you could feel good about this and i think it had had a well was a process of wanting to not fear their own slaves it's because it's being now did she tell you david thanks boston king in his wife violet king were south carolina african americans who lived in the sea island region of south carolina probably the worst kind of
bondage in terms of labor tom king was often hired out and in his memoirs talks about how brutally he was treated even though it was very hardworking highly trained as a carpenter and probably represents the spontaneous way in which a lot of africans let the south to seek the british hearing by word of mouth sometimes that the british were willing to take african americans if they were willing to fight with him or even if they wanted just to get away from bondage and king himself in order to avoid punishment after praying to god is very religious man after praying to god was able to get by the guards who oftentimes don't watch because they knew that it's a people were trying to get to the british so he was able to get by the guards and to get to the british lines and downed he served in the british
with the british forces as a result of that as a very fascinating history because he served with the british he's captured by the americans he escapes from the americans and goes back to the british and eventually sales with the traditional fiscal ship it is how about it represents that racial crossover between indians and blacks african americans and africans were oftentimes used against the indians but they were also often times people who want to fly to the indians away from the hat white so it was a complex situation and there was some intermarriage and their violent
came was part indian and people in the region see it ends i wish she was helped the british and the indians helped british she had relatives among the indians who would bring food and to the british and tam keep them supplied so there was almost like a three way alliance between blacks who were trying to serve the british and trying to ingratiate themselves to the british and hope that when the war was over they would be able to leave with a british indians who was sort of caught in the middle and try to decide who was going to win and that quest the british who essentially are going to try and use both blacks and indians curtis the situation in the south was
essentially upheaval the whites were fleeing their plantations as a british began to move into the self sometimes trying to take their own people with the other times just leaving them when they left than many of the african americans took over the plantation homes looted them took all kinds of clothing much of a mismatched and i'm whatever they could take with them food sometimes livestock sometimes a horse if they could get it a lot of fleet to the british line so there was a tremendous amount of elation it was also a question of where were they going and it raises that question of course that keeps coming up what is freedom the masters forgotten many cases and they were free to at least leave the plantation on the way of course they were just as likely to be dealt with a group of patriot guerrillas as the british so there was a lot of danger worse many women had
children with them there was a the fear that tap the children cannot stand the journey there were old people so you know you're looking at a freedom struggle and large groups of people in the countryside going from place to place sometimes not knowing where but hoping that they were headed toward the british so yes there's elation and no longer having a master but then there's some apprehension because they don't know what lies ahead and they really don't know what to expect from the british they've heard stories in many cases that the british will accept them if they do this people really didn't know what to expect from the british phrase well they did not they were going to find the british and some of the african americans began to leave the south and seventy and seventy five given the fact that those who got certificates of freedom didn't leave until seventeen eighty three has had a long period of time in which they went to all kinds of trials and
the british camp followers were when an elderly men and children and everyone had some kind of occupation and then of course were used for fighting for fourteen for scouting the women were cooks were seamstresses that launches says they carried water to the men in battle and sometimes loaded musket so there was something for them to do they also formed relationships with british soldiers black soldiers for relationships with some of those women the loyalist women who were following the young british because some are white indentured servants were also in these camps can't life was part of early modern warfare and just like the africans were filed when the british there were women and children fall when the americans sell a modern conception of war does not begin to
understand what was happening in this war with this large train of africans all different descriptions in all kinds of transportation following the british but there's a weird city is the british headquarters and eventually that is where all of the africans leave the plantations not only in the south but people who leave their homes in the north we want to get too that's where freedom actually lies and the road is very dubious and some people don't make it but a lot of people do and new york gay is the center of activity for african americans who have sought and found freedom during the war when a tsunami
warning oh yeah so your state has been a useful place for the british and the africans who are there have been useful to the british the question is what happens after the war's over an article ten of the peace treaty and seventeen eighty three hopes to get back on a seven page article seven of the peace treaty treaty of paris that ended the american revolution stipulated that all property was to be returned of course people fattened descent who were in bondage are considered property the general a judge in new york city general birch did not want to return the africans who had helped the
british effort and were in new york city to the american owners in spite of what the peace treaty said so he issued certificates of freedom to over three thousand african americans men women and children and this freed them and it also permitted them to leave with the british when they eventually left to america for the last time this created a tremendous amount of anger on the part of the americans washington protested loudly but burke stood by those certificates even though many owners came from the south to try and retrieve the former bonds people in boston king talks about the terror and the fear that the africans had in new york of being discovered by their owners and there were situations where africans had actually been taken by their owners and we're in the process of being taken away from new york and ah general birch stopped the process
and sent the a seven hours away without their slaves eventually these african americans anyway were able to leave go to nova scotia and became part of that black atlantic world not only in nova scotia summit in london summit to germany some eventually went back to africa sierra leone so for that group freedom became a reality but many thousands of african americans who aided the british lost their freedom anyway done more the architect of the e a proclamation that began this whole process of african americans serving with the british the seed many african americans and many of them ended up in slavery in the caribbean others when they attempted to leave with the british in places like charleston and savannah were prevented and their incredible letters written by southerners of
africans after the seizure trials and swami out and bolts and the british hacking away at their arms with cutlasses to keep him from falling and so is a very tragic situation and of the many thousands of africans who left the plantations not many of them actually got that freedom and we want to be when i was given these days or was that the target was as far as we know an absolute guarantee that you're going to get on a british ship even though after washington's protest general birch set up inquiry commission needs to investigate the claims of law the patriots
about their slaves but as far as we know no one who had one of those certificates was kept back so that part of the british promise was kept there other aspects of that struggle we are we lost so we know that they did keep that much of the promise how you got her certificate had to do with where you were some people in south carolina in charleston that certificates some people in savannah that certificate and wants bars issued a certificate then that gave the holder the right to get on a boat and go to new york city to eventually leave with the british there
are significant and civilians in qana lebanon the politics and economics that have a lot of soldiers are swollen to the two movies onto your parents are some aspects of the american revolution especially when looking at it from the perspective of white society make you realize that was no revolution at all for african americans it was a freedom struggle for white americans it was in some ways a struggle between a parent and a child that eventually we're going to be reconciled and i guess one significant example of that is the fact that at the treaty of paris and reliance planter merchant
slave trader from charleston and robert oswald his merchant friend and negotiator in britain were members of that group of people and it indicates that in spite of this quarrel that the interests of the two nations as far as slavery was concerned we're identical so it tells us something about the american revolution as a struggle for liberty and it gives us a perspective on what liberty and republicanism was and was not and as far as african americans were concerned republicanism and liberty at that time was meaningless meek has been in and john birch decided that he was going to issue certificates to
those former enslaved people that would want to be allowed to leave with the british he found a lot of resistance from the columnists former columnist and as a way of dealing with their resistance and their anger he set up this commission and also decided that he was going to make a list of everyone who he gave a certificate to that became the book of negroes done primarily for the sake of the americans and to be a check on who was leaving and whether or not they were really in a position to leave even though in actuality everyone who was in that book and given that you can make it was allowed to leave so it was sort of a concession now ortiz big
mistake that was son of a concession to the americans to create this list that they could use to determine who was actually free and who is not and as a way of in the future given compensation because according to the treaty people lost puppy were to be compensated so that was really the idea of the list what it tells us is the numbers of africans who left and how many women there were how long they had been free women who took the children man who left on their own and then ended up marrying someone and then having children whole families leaving together so you really get a sense of the african american journey from as far as savannah all the way up to new york city so it's a fascinating
piece of social history it gives the name of the person that gives the year which they let the plantation or their owner and gives the name of the owner gives the agency gives a brief description so we know that many of the women who left were saying well we know that many couples left we know that many families left with children and so it's a very interesting and rather complete list of african americans who were served with the british band we're able to plead with the british over the place the black
loyal assistant called left with the british with temperature certificate when to nova scotia some of them ended up in london and whatley as members of the london poor some of them ended up and something came to germany it was a a very peculiar situation for the majority of them who ended up in nova scotia most of them were provided with twenty acres of land that was also a result of general birch the problem was that in nova scotia there were also white loyalists many of whom have been slave holders so the racial dynamics were very tense and they're black loyalists which she did very badly by the white loyalists in nova scotia as a result of that some left and went to england but more importantly they wanted to go to sierra leone and a movement emerged among the blacks boston king was one of them
to create a group that would go to sierra leone they felt that this was really the only place that they can live out their lives in freedom it's been in europe should you my lord well you pursue my song wonder from whence my love of freedom sprung once flow these wishes for the common good by feeling hot salon best understood by young and life by seeming cruel fate was snatched from affix fancy happy seat what pace excruciating must molest what sorrows labor in my parents' pressed steel was at seoul and by noam is removed that from a father's seasons babe beloved such was my case and can i then but pray others may never feel to remix way
so sweetly and her first to the earl of dartmouth who was secretary of the american department she wrote that one and seventy seventy two it speaks to a number and really important touching issues for african americans at that time phyllis wheatley was about seven years old when she was taken from africa the pampered slave in the weekly home who very early learned latin and greek and very early showed signs of poetic brilliance and as a young woman writing this you get a very strong sense of what africa meant to her what it meant and what she still remember about being taken away from her parents at the same time she's speaking as an
american and identified with the american cause that if she as a little girl can feel the pangs of tyranny and being taken away from her parents then she certainly can understand the things that the columnist feel in terms of being mistreated by the british soul phyllis wheatley is an african and american heart she has decided through her education through her love of america to become a spokeswoman for the american cause and that does not mean that she is any less sorrowful for having been taken away from her country but she is at that point in her life an american and identifying with the american cause and it's very
touching because this is an identity that she has assumed which the americans really don't care about she represents someone who has invite the american spirit of liberty and yet the spirit of liberty is not meant to apply to her she isn't exceptional african american woman and so she has that advantage but on the whole the spirit of liberty that she is passing in this poem was not meant for african americans that did not mean that they didn't experience that indeed they did and that's what she's representing soaked her poems can be looked at and to play squash you can look at them as that a comment on the hypocrisy that it's evident not only in the british that and the americans as well because she is a slave in america probably run over on a british ship the purchased by bostonians so there's a kind
of hypocrisy and the british as well as in the americans that i think this poem speaks to but his inner lives her life one thing that fills with these poems and the fact that she is a well read not to say simply literate african american woman it really speaks to in a sense a different experience for some african americans particularly those in the northeast that she would be able to aspire to this level of development intellectual development so it points to the irony of american life that somewhere in her early life her
mistress sauce bark and decided to cultivate it but there were many african girls with the spark that simply died fb should you my lord only pursue my song wonderful once my love of freedoms from whence flow these wishes for the common good by feeling hot salon best understood it young and life by seeming cruel fate was snatched from affix fancy happy seat where paintings excruciating must molest what sorrows labor in my parent's arrest steele was that soul and by noam is removed that from a father seized his babe eleven
such was my case and can identify prey others may never feel to remix way it was excellent she'd you my lord well you praise stable should you my lord well you pursue my song wonder from whence my lover freedoms brown once flow these wishes for the common good by feeling high school loan best understood it on in life by seeming cruel fate was snatched from africa's fancy happy seat what paying to excruciating must molest what sorrows labor and my parents press steeled was that soul and by noon
is removed from a father's seat has begun such such was my case and can identify prey others may never feel to remix way it young in life by seeming cruel fate was snatched from affix fancied happy seat what pangs excruciating must molest with sorrows labor in my parents first steele was sold and buy my knees removed that from a father's seized chaikin it young and life so it on in life by seeming cruel fate was snatched from affix fancied happy seat what pangs excruciating must molest
what solve labor and my parents first steele was that sold and buy new ms removed that from a father seized his paper love such such was my case and can identify prey others may never feel to remix way it really was certainly a christian and her belief system as a young girl of seven living in boston and then going to maturity in boston in a very religious family we can't really say that sie hat an african spiritual background her background was christianity but i think so sweetly like many african
americans saw christianity as a religion that spoke to their egalitarian are some and i think that that is the way she used to christianity and that is the way a cv of christianity christianity became a humanizing spirituality for african americans a spirituality that was part of their african heritage and that does not mean that they were people who imbibed everything in christianity because there were certain contradictions in the christian religion that many people maintain supported the enslavement so african americans were not christians in the sense that they believe everything that was talked to them about christianity or that they believed everything which they read in the bible and it's also
important to remember that at that time in american culture christianity was away and with african americans could express their sense of liberty and their sense of freedom i think that many people like phyllis wheatley and other african americans at that time who are literate who were writing felt that christianity was an ideology of liberation and i think that that's how they used it was the danger and within the council the danger christianity one slave people is it could be a double edged sword that there were there's many ways in which people who supported the slave odyssey could use the bible to support christianity as there was for african americans and religious groups like the quakers aka
became anti slavery to support freedom so the contradictions within the bible created problems for african americans who wanted to use it as an ideology of liberation the dangers of christianity was that whites felt that christianity was something that african americans were not to have access to an extent a danger a danger would be that christianity might promote docility it might promote weakness and it might encourage african americans to be content with
a lot so african americans have to be very selective about how they used their religious culture that they were exposed to a white society and they had to also hang onto their own sense of spirituality as african people and to attempt to take both traditions and try and create something that was a serviceable for them at that particular historical moment but it really screws do any of that this change here i'm like i say something about the relationship between christianity and africana to pay it's important too keep in mind that
african americans were not christians for quite a long time that christianity was a religion that the whites did not want them exposed to how because of certain egalitarian principles and the new testament because of the militant jewish nationalism of the old testament so there was a concerted effort to keep christianity away from them that this was an effort that certain religious groups fatah and as some african americans became christians they also resisted the effort to keep it away from them but for the most part most african americans were not exposed to the tenets of christianity as we in the modern times think of them but african americans had a spiritual purview and it was a spirituality based on there own african backgrounds merging with certain tenets of christianity it's also
important to keep in mind that africans came from cultures that had some principles that can to christianity they believed in a supreme god they believed in an afterlife they believe in the concept of the soul they believed in something different in terms of what happens to the soul and the body after a person dies but they had very important tenants that they brought with them that fit in to christianity also there were some africans from the congo and the reason that we're familiar with certain aspects of christianity through the portuguese so christianity was not something that was totally new to them and even sold with the situation of slave holders not wanting them to know that much about christianity where their own community network that was relatively and cultural isolation christianity was something
that for many years was that kind of the periphery of their culture in which they would take parts of it and use it and take other parts and and ignore it so it was really a creation of african beliefs and those parts of this western religion that they found useful for them important part of christianity and wouldn't you know it is people in bondage would be very taken by the story of moses leading the children on in egypt that was a very important theme for african americans and that was the kind of militancy and the story of the jews that slave holders didn't want the africans to implied and of course later on africans use those very genes for resistance
africa's also believed that that chasm meant freedom and plow chairs and other slave holders were very weary of missionaries going amongst the africans and baptize them because for africans that represented a rite of passage a transition something had to change if i'm baptized i'm a new person as was the case in african culture but what is very important african culture and it represents a transformation so for africans being baptized had to me that something about the most different and also the europeans one of the justifications for enslaved africans was that they were he said ok and baptized i'm along the heathen then i should be free so this was something that the slave holders had to deal with because for africans it represented a transition and even the laws were passed specifically stated that baptism does not
confer freedom africans didn't believe it until these aspects can be seventy three fb it's been the protests began the period of the american revolution represents african americans the first
concerted freedom struggle that permeates the entire colonial population of african americans it represents in the first period when african americans as a whole and entire group from georgia all the way up to the northeast are on the move and seeking freedom and they have always been seeking freedom since they came to the colonies but it's always been resistance to rebellion there are robberies poisonings fires sporadic but the ideology of the revolution the ideology of republicanism that permeates white society is picked up on time very meaningful way by african americans and they move and the entire countryside with all of that the turmoil and the destruction that takes place because of the war in the middle of all that
it's this constant movement along like a long black line from savannah all the way up to new york so that i think for african americans things will never be the same after the american revolution in terms of their concepts about the ideology of freedom republican ideas there was anything that they can help him was a framework in the book a lot because it uses the republican either ok scott just talk the constitution itself is not a republican document what makes the constitution
republican and at least choirs it gal italian is the bill of rights without that the constitution is a document designed to serve property holders so we have to look at the constitution as one document that supports propagate interest mainly and then we have to look at the bill of rights which is really for the people as white people especially white males but the fact that it's in there and the fact that it has the guaranteed rights for citizens at least opens up the argument for african americans and of course for women in terms of what is a citizen because these rights in there for citizens then people were defined outside of that the other can aspire to citizenship so that they can retrieve some of these rites without the bill of rights than there would be nothing
to go on fb the bill of rights opens up the constitution and makes it a document of republicanism and choirs a deleterious him it is what makes america a democracy for quite for white males essentially and more than african americans for white females but certainly not for everyone but the fact that the bill of rights is the air provides an
avenue for americans living in the united states and yet not considered americans to at some point in their history say hey wait a minute that includes me too and that's what african americans do that's how they use the bill of rights that's how they use republicanism can you on a debate that help frame for me at the argument around slavery and how you can be one of the biggest issues in the constitution and the constitutional debate an issue that almost it's completed completely disintegrated the convention was over the issue of enslavement and how you regarded enslavement and of course how you regard the enslaved these
southern people a southern man at the constitutional convention what slavery to be part of the document even though the word slavery is not mentioned in the constitution it's implied in many ways and so and very importantly for self got what they wanted and then let's answer to that was that this young women can get a constitution because and slade people were property and a certain attitude was that they had a right to keep their property many in the north were making noise about ending slavery indeed massachusetts had ended slavery by the time the constitutional convention pennsylvania had a gradual many mission are new york and new jersey would dilly dally and trying to five to tie but it was in the air
and the southerners were afraid of that because once the north emancipated they're on people then this was a senator's were concerned they were going to look to them to do the same thing because there's also an emerging anti slavery movement among why to have previous waves especially the quakers so it's a contradiction and it's a conflict for the north they want a strong federal government to protect their property so want that as well but for the senators the most important form of property they have is human property sold the founding fathers have to make adjustments and the adjustments which they make find the people of african descent in bondage until the civil war let's talk briefly
before about the freedom that i had the woman who i'm seeing for freedom what's the significance of massachusetts it was a seventy one yeah thanks in places like massachusetts by people like elizabeth freeman and other african americans who petitioned the massachusetts general court these kinds of maneuvers i would eventually lead to the massachusetts general quote by virtue of the constitution of massachusetts saying that all men are created equal which implied and and was interpreted by the court as saying that there
was to be no slavery all men being all women but if we can imagine this woman arm the slave woman reading a constitution and saying well if everybody is created equal than that includes me to and challenging the state government on this issue it was like that that forced the massachusetts legislature to look long and hard at the whole contagion of liberty and there were other african americans who did similar kinds of acts paul coffee and his brother refused to pay the taxes they were landowners they were fairly wealthy african americans and yet they had no rights they were jailed for this but they were eventually let out of jail
and these kinds of x these kinds of challenges to the state governments eventually led to massive emancipation for people in various states in the north so in that sense even those who didn't serve in the army either in the british or in the american army still worked to bring about their own freedom it was a tie it's probably one of the most colorful individuals during the period the american revolution crown all time was actually an enslaved man about twenty twenty one named titus was owned by a quaker and the feminine qualities and tie was a
part of the movement among africans in new jersey he was an enslaved man in monmouth county new jersey but a moment during the war on the part of slaves to leave the plantations it was an interesting situation because his own i was a quaker and quicker church had recently come out against slavery first it's true imitating quakers who in case in the slave trade and then it's communicating quakers who refused to put their bomb people on the road to many mission which ties owner refused to do a kaiser owner was it was bleak how we were the most colorful individuals during the american revolution was a black man in colonel tie enslaved man in monmouth county new jersey and slave by quakers who disobey the gentle quaker ruling that quakers put there and say people on the
road to emancipation sell even though some quaker owned slaves were getting their freedom tie was enemy hadn't especially cruel master when the american revolution emerged ty emerged as a fearless leader he was only about twenty one and that he commanded pull black and white loyalists and literally wreaked havoc in new jersey and also in new york he captured loyalists he executed loyalists sometimes he captured page patriots he executed patriots he visited the region amar month where he was from and burnett and looted the slave holders freed slaves had probably eight hundred men under his command at one point both black and
white and he would capture people if you didn't want to execute them send them to what was called a sugar house in new york city and that and then go on his guerrilla raids he was probably more feared in that region than any other british loyalist black or white and down the kind of guerilla warfare that he engaged and kept the country in turmoil even to the point where governor livingston of new jersey could not send troops to a washington because he was afraid that this would leave an opening for thai and that he had to keep his own man with him so it was very important in terms of the morale of african americans because many of them joined him others who didn't join him certainly got a big charge of the fact that it was this black man who was leading these raids against the patriots freeing slaves and it gave them a sense of
their own capacity and they began to flee the farms and to move into the british those who didn't join tai an asset to fight in little guerrilla skirmishes themselves so he was really largely responsible for the the war effort and a non orderly way but in a seven gorilla way in the new jersey countryside a very important that individual who remained on the sane beginning and seventeen seventy eight all the way up through the seventeen at with room keys and georgia and how are those communities who was likely to flee to community what was that
and then my room communities were part of southern resistance among african americans almost from the time africans came to a colony especially the frontier colonies of carolina and georgia when they fled many of them would set up communities and many of the people in the enslaved communities knew about these communities sometimes fortified them with food told them when the whites were on the trail so they could move more and more into the interior some of them formed alliances with indians this was the case from the carolinas all the way down to florida and i was the case throughout the
colonial era when the american revolution began these communities became larger and they became stronger and it's important in the context of the american revolution because we tend to think only in terms of africans going to the british were fighting with the americans or join the indians but they also formed their own little villages that little room societies in and settled areas of georgia and various remote islands in south carolina and in florida and sometimes they would make a tax on plantations and then disappear sometimes they would you going to these plantations and take people back with them sometimes even by force and in this way they fortified their communities but during the revolution there was an upsurge of these communities and they remained there
they were very hard to get rid of but eventually by around eighteen hundred they had all been pretty much out taken care of as you move into florida especially in part a spanish florida you also find these room communities some of whom had been involved in my own eyes during the revolution and then rather than be captured had moved into florida course these were not fleshed out into law the time of andrew jackson but more nice was very much a part of the american revolution you experience and it probably represents what anything else the autonomy within some of the african american community and probably the more rooms where meals people who were closest to africa who were comfortable neither would the british nor with the american tour with the indians but wants to live among themselves in their communities as close to an african cultures they
could get it was a community it was a community of africans who moved away from the plantations usually in a group and set up little communities in remote areas where there were not likely to be discovered they grow crops they had livestock they built homes on base raised families and they had guards around the fortifications so they were essentially little african villages in the frontier regions during the time the record revolution there are more and more of these as african americans decided they did
not want to join either one of the war efforts so the cr ocean is who would become a room probably the people who became a room for those closest to africa those who were least comfortable with british culture or american culture or indian culture those who had been born in africa had lived in relatively isolated situations like you find in the low country carolina and georgia and once the war became so intense that matches began to flee and what some insight people fled to the british some went to the indians these individuals for their own communities and various islands in the coastal region and now the hinterlands and always being on the wives for discovery by whites and
they lived out of this kind of a life for us quite a long time or maybe ten means different things different people and it meant different things to different african americans for the phillis wheatley freedom meant actual freedom liberty which she was able to obtain but also for her it would mean the ability to express yourself in a literary fashion because she was a poet a self for her freedom and physical freedom and calls for freedom of expression for africans in rome communities they wanted
freedom away from white culture that to them was freedom and that's a different kind of freedom it's not that republican ism of some of the individuals who fought with the british some of the individuals who fought with the american patriot it's a kind of freedom that harks back to their own heritage and it really means that they don't want anything to do with american culture so that is their concept of freedom and there was other people find that the freedom one is able to obtain in indian cultures to marry with the indians got to still live a relatively frontier kind of life but again away from white culture was another kind of freedom and since
Africans in America
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Raw Footage
Interview with Margaret Washington, Associate Professor of History, Cornell University. 2 of 4
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WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
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Margaret Washington is interviewed bout the slave labor economy in the 18th century, Stamp Act and resistance in South Carolina, Boston and Violet King seeking safety with the British, slaves follow the British to New York City, the Treaty of Paris and certificates of freedom, General Birch and The Book of Negroes, Phillis Wheatley's life and poetry, the contradictions and appeal of Christianity, The American Revolution and the first struggle for freedom, The Constitution and Bill of Rights, Elizabeth Freeman and suits for freedom, Colonel Tye, Maroon Societies, concepts of freedom.
Race and Ethnicity
American history, African Americans, civil rights, slavery, abolition, Civil War
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Identifier: Washington_Margaret_02_merged_SALES_ASP_h264.mp4 (unknown)
Duration: 1:17:10
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Chicago: “Africans in America; 102; Revolution; Interview with Margaret Washington, Associate Professor of History, Cornell University. 2 of 4 ,” 1998-00-00, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 4, 2024,
MLA: “Africans in America; 102; Revolution; Interview with Margaret Washington, Associate Professor of History, Cornell University. 2 of 4 .” 1998-00-00. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 4, 2024. <>.
APA: Africans in America; 102; Revolution; Interview with Margaret Washington, Associate Professor of History, Cornell University. 2 of 4 . Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from